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European stocks gained for a third day, the longest winning streak since January, as Chinese imports beat forecasts and investors awaited the minutes of last month’s Federal Reserve meeting.
China’s imports rose by a better-than-forecast 14.1 percent in March, while export growth slowed to 10 percent from a year earlier, the customs administration said today in Beijing.
In the U.S., the Federal Open Market Committee releases minutes of its March 19-20 meeting, after which Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said further gains in the U.S. labor market were needed for the Fed to consider reducing its monetary easing. Policy makers reiterated the Fed’s key interest rate will stay near zero as long as unemployment stays above 6.5 percent and the inflation outlook is less than 2.5 percent.
Wacker Chemie and SMA Solar gained 6.1 percent to 59.30 euros and 6.6 percent to 19.48 euros, respectively. Meyer Burger Technology AG climbed 6.7 percent to 7.85 Swiss francs.
First Solar Inc., the world’s largest thin-film solar manufacturer by output, surged the most on record yesterday, after forecasting sales of $3.8 billion to $4 billion this year. Earnings will be $4 to $4.50 a share, exceeding the $3.57 average of 23 analysts’ estimates.
Stada Arzneimittel AG, Germany’s biggest publicly traded generic-drug maker, retreated 2 percent to 29.67 euros after Bank of America Corp. cut the stock to underperform from neutral, meaning investors should sell the shares.
FTSE 100 6,358.76 +45.55 +0.72%
CAC 40 3,718.35 +47.63 +1.30%
DAX 7,731.8 +94.29 +1.23%
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